Catching the Entrepreneurial Bug | Timika Downes

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On today’s episode, Cody and Justin are joined by Timika Downes from The House of FI podcast to share her amazing journey. Her story involves marriage, divorce, children, military service, career changes, and six-figure side hustles.

Her constant urge to better herself is truly remarkable and we think no matter what your journey is or where you are on it, this episode has something to offer for you.

Time to go listen, comment and show us some love with those ratings.  Enjoy!

Episode Summary

  • Born to immigrant parents growing up in projects of Boston
  • In the 5th grade, she was a part of a program where she began attending school in a much more affluent neighborhood
  • When she got in high school, they moved to a two family home and began house-hacking
  • Her parents instilled saving money but no deeper financial discussions
  • She racked up about $94k in debt over the course of her three degrees
  • Timika ended up with a Master’s in Accounting and a Nursing degree
  • She talks about how she plans on handling her children’s education based on what she learned from her experience
  • There was a discussion about a situation she was aware of where the parent’s had different payouts they would support their kid with based on how profitable the degree was they went after.
  • She got married earlier on and they both made good money and bought a house but they never really managed their money or really worked their way out of debt or built wealth
  • That marriage ended in divorce at age 30 and was a wake-up moment for her financially
  • She also joined the military which greatly helped with her college debt
  • She talks about the great experience the military was and her commitment was 1 weekend per month and a two or three week period every summer and she got a $50k bonus plus pay on those duty weekends.
  • After being remarried and having a child, she realized she wasn’t going to stick around for 20 years and get retirement so she stepped away from the military.
  • Once she got debt handled she started looking at side hustles and entrepreneurship
  • Her first effort was for a breastfeeding product to help women feed at work
  • Unfortunately, in the end, she realized the profit margins just weren’t good enough
  • It did, however, teach her how to handle websites and social media campaigns
  • Her recommendation is to spend your time before you spend your money when looking at a new business idea
  • Then she found a very successful business venture in a head lice clinic
  • She got the idea after going through a lice outbreak in a school she was working at as a school nurse
  • Her clinic utilizes a machine that is leased through a University program that dehydrates the eggs of the lice
  • You purchase rights to a region for the clinics and now the business is moving to a franchise model
  • Lice Clinics of America is the organization she utilized to get started
  • She also mentioned that there is a mobile version of the business people can get involved in now
  • In her first year, the business made over $100k of revenue
  • She continues her personal growth by starting a blog, podcast, and even taking coding classes
  • Her tangible tip is to always look at a problem creatively and deliberately and realize that your journey to financial independence is a marathon and not a sprint

Key Takeaways

  1. Paths aren’t always marked: She ended up with three degrees which led to debt but it was part of the process for her to find her path. Some people are lucky enough to have a calling from the time they can talk and others need a little more exploration. Don’t compare yourself to others, just focus on finding your path.
  2. Failure is our best teacher: This is one of the most reoccurring lessons I’ve ever seen with entrepreneurship. Timika didn’t strike gold on the breastfeeding business in terms of revenue but the lessons she learned were priceless.
  3. Invest in yourself: I absolutely love her commitment to self-improvement. Whether it be skill development, reading, or simply focus. She continuously looks for a way to refine her self and her life. That’s something we should all strive to do.

Call to Action

Go out to a site such as Skill Share or Code Academy and take some low-cost or free classes. Find one that resonates with you and continue developing that skill.

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Links from the Episode

Lice Clinics of America

Travel Rewards

Contact Timika:

Her Blog: The Reluctant Frugalist


Learn More About Your Hosts:

Fly to FI (Cody’s Blog)

Saving-Sherpa (Justin’s blog)